PHABC Conference 2019

The Public Health Association of BC is proud to announce our annual fall conference:


Simplifying Complexity:

Public Health Approaches and Practice in Complex Systems

Conference & Annual General Meeting

November 14th & 15th, 2019

The Sutton Place Hotel

Vancouver, BC

Full Program Now Available! Click here to view it.


Registration on now, click here to register today!

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Once again, the Public Health Association of BC would like to invite everyone to attend our fall conference and annual general meeting, happening this year at the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver on November 14th and 15th, 2019. This year’s theme will build on that of our annual summer school, “Simplifying Complexity: Public Health Approaches & Practice in Complex Systems,” and will explore sub-themes of food systems & security, immunization & infectious disease control, wicked problems in health equity, and overdose response & safe supplies.


The PHABC conference provides the opportunity for professionals throughout the province to meet, mingle, and learn through a unique combination of keynote presentations, case studies, symposia and hands-on workshops. The conference aims to teach attendees how to identify complex systems in their work using complex adaptive systems thinking while simultaneously showcasing innovative and collaborative methods of promoting health at the population level.






Complexity science is the study of systems and problems that are dynamic, unpredictable and multi-dimensional, and have interconnected relationships and parts. The study of complex adaptive systems (CAS) occurs within the paradigm of complexity science. In the challenging and changing times of public health practice today, practitioners can benefit from embracing and understanding how complexity science can support improved and proactive quality of care. There are many examples of complex public health issues, including pandemics and climate change. The problems targeted by preventive interventions are often complex, embedded in multiple levels of social and environmental context, and cover the developmental lifespan. The norm for much of public health services is to address complex issues in silos restricting potential for real change. Common individual responses to complex problems can be to give up, assign blame, or oversimplify solutions. Instead, we need to approach complex problems together, using our best collective responses and resources. Understanding CAS theory can be useful for public health practice. CAS frameworks can put complex problems into context, and promote shared understandings and approaches that recognize interconnectedness, interdependence, and collective responsibility.


The theme and sub themes were introduced at our annual summer school, if you missed out, we have posted presentations from summer school speakers on our website; click here or follow the below link to check them out (please note not all presentations are available).






Early Bird registration has now closed and regular registration rates now apply.  Click here or copy the link below to register today.

2019 Registration Rates*  
2 days PHABC member $390.00
2 days Non-member $485.00
2 days senior/student PHABC member $315.00
2 days senior/student Non-member $350.00
1 day registration PHABC member $200.00
1 day registration non-member $275.00
1 day senior/student PHABC member $175.00
1 day senior/student NON member $205.00

*including GST


The Sutton Place Hotel is pleased to offer discounts of up to 35% for conference participants who book more than 15 days in advance of the conference dates.* To access the discount either call 1.866.378.8866 and ask for the “Advance Booking Offer” or use Promo Code ‘ADVP’ when booking online at

*Subject to Availability 

Full Online Program


In advance of the conference, we are delighted to release our final full program for your viewing pleasure. It has all the location information you will need, from how to get there and where to park, to where to eat and what the hotel has to offer hotel guests. It includes descriptions of all presentations and workshops over the two days, a full list of our exhibitor booths, biographies of our featured speakers, our think piece along with recommended readings to get you thinking about complex adaptive systems, and so much more!


To access the online program, follow the link below or click here. You can also access it from our homepage by looking under the Conference 2019 tab of our main menu.



Please note that some presentations are subject to change, any updates to the program will be listed on the main display board at the registration desk the day of the conference.

Networking Event, Exhibitor Booths and Poster Sessions


In the afternoon of November 14th, 2019 we will be hosting our networking event for all conference attendees. During the event, we welcome delegates to network with like minded individuals in a casual atmosphere, learn about the important work our partner organizations have been doing in the exhibitors’ room and review the latest research on a variety of public health issues through the poster sessions; presenters will be on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding their work

A cash bar will be open for those wishing to sip on a glass of wine or beer during the event and we will have complimentary non-alcoholic refreshments available as well. Servers’ will bring out a variety of delicious appetizers, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, for everyone to enjoy.


NEW FOR 2019!

At the start of the networking event we will be hosting our 2019 PHABC Awards ceremony in the main ballroom. We ask that everyone join us in congratulating the award winners on their dedication to public health in BC. Winners will be announced in November.



PHABC Annual General Meeting


During lunch on Thursday November 14th, 2019, we will hold our annual general meeting in the main ballroom. Come and learn what our association has been doing this past year and what our plans are for the coming year. We will also be welcoming our new board members and thanking our departing board members for their dedication to our association.

If you want to understand more about what PHABC does and what we stand for, this meeting will provide you with all the answers.



Scientific Program Committee


We are pleased to introduce Dr. Marjorie MacDonald and Dr. Simon Carroll, our Scientific Program Committee co-chairs. They have worked tirelessly with the rest of our committee to oversee the development of this year’s program and as such we would like to take this time to thank everyone involved with putting on the 2019 conference. This event would not have been possible without the contributions and countless hours of work from the following individuals.


Dr. Marjorie MacDonald – SPC Co-Chair

University of Victoria

Dr. Marjorie MacDonald is a Professor Emerita in the School of Nursing, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy, and a Scientist in the Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research (CISUR), all at the University of Victoria. She co-directs the Research in Public Health Systems and Services Initiative (BC) (formerly CPHFRI) and is leading an initiative to develop a Public Health Systems and Services Research agenda for Canada. Marjorie held one of 15 inaugural CIHR Applied Public Health Research Chairs from 2008-2014, and was President and Past President of the Public Health Association of BC from 2011 to 2016. Research interests include public health systems renewal, health equity, public health and primary care collaboration, adolescent health promotion and drug use prevention, and public health ethics. Marjorie also is interested in the application of complexity science to research methods in public health.



Dr. Simon Carroll – SPC Co-Chair

University of Victoria

Dr. Simon Carroll is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Victoria. He has a particular interest in the areas of sociological theory, the sociology of health and illness, and in social justice and social inequalities. His research over the past 15 years has been focused on sociological approaches to understanding health systems. Methodologically, he has been involved in an emerging approach to knowledge synthesis, called ‘realist synthesis’, and has published several articles and book chapters related to that approach. Simon continues to be involved in a variety of research projects as a co-investigator including the AGEWELL program of research, a multi-disciplinary national research network in technology and aging, funded under the Networks of Centre’s of Excellence program. Simon completed his PhD at the University of Victoria, and his Master’s Degree at Lancaster University, UK.


Scientific Program Committee Members

Shannon Turner              Executive Director, Public Health Association of BC

Dr. Theresa Healy           Capacity Building Committee Co-Chair, Public Health Association of BC

Lara Frederick                 North East Preventive Public Health Program Lead, Northern Health

Alexandria Ross              Administrative Officer, Public Health Association of BC

Maureen Rowan             Capacity Building Committee Co-Chair, Public Health Association of BC

Christina Harding            Project Coordinator, Public Health Association of BC




Thank you to all of our 2019 Conference Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors


Our conference would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors each year.




Keep checking back for more information as it becomes available and we look forward to seeing everyone in Vancouver this fall!